Not every Academy Award-nominated actor can have a career where every role is as esteemed as the last one, but I kind of expected the highly talented Thomas Haden Church and Terrence Howard to be some of the giants whose shoulders young actors stood on. Instead, they only seem to make a critically-acclaimed flick every few years, filling the time between them with sappy dramas, corny comedies or lame thrillers. Variety reports Church and Howard have joined Cardboard Boxer, the indie drama serving as the directorial debut from Jackass cameraman and producer Knate Gwaltney, and I’ll leave it up to you guys to guess how this latest one will pan out.
The new film centers on a homeless man in L.A.’s Skid Row who soon becomes the focus of a group of rich, douchey teens who get their kicks by paying poor people to get into fights. Given Gwaltney’s past, I’m surprised this movie wasn’t simply called Bum Battles 3D. Howard and Church join a cast that already includes Boyd Holbrook (Hatfields and McCoys), Rhys Wakefield (The Purge), and musician Macy Gray. Gwaltney also wrote the script.
In the years since his standout role in Alexander Payne’s Sideways, Church has flipped from overproduced crap like Spider-Man 3 to overproduced non-crap like John Carter, occasionally finding a film to shine in, like William Friedkin’s awesome 2011 crime thriller Killer Joe. Most recently, he can be seen in Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais’ debut drama Whitewash, and opposite Toni Collette in Megan Griffiths’ Lucky Them.
Howard, meanwhile, has already filled 2013 with a varied assortment of performances. He gave a formidable supporting performance in Denis Villeneuve’s deservedly Oscar-hyped Prisoners as well as in the less deservedly Oscar-hyped Lee Daniels’ The Butler. He also starred in Niels Arden Oplev’s decent crime drama Dead Man Down earlier this year, which is well worth the watch. On the flip side of that were his appearance in the awful sketch comedy Movie 43 and Alex Merkin’s thriller/horror House of Bodies. To be expected, he’s got a ton of stuff in the pipeline, including M. Night Shyamalan’s series Wayward Pines and the modernized Shakespeare adaptation Macbeth. He’ll also star opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in David Ayers’ actioner Sabotage, Theodore Melfi’s oddball comedy St. Vincent De Van Nuys and Jennifer Elster’s incredibly intriguing mystery The Being Experience. Seeing as how those aren’t even all of his upcoming projects, one has to wonder when he has time to breathe.
There’s no telling when this film will kick into production, but if you happen to see two homeless men going at it in the street, keep an eye out for cameras.
Go watch Prisoners now if you want to see the best thing Howard’s done in a while, and watch the preview below to get you more in the mood.